fbpx THE SILVER VOICES ORAL HISTORIES PROJECT | George Eastman Museum

The museum will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth. 

THE SILVER VOICES ORAL HISTORIES PROJECT

Listen to interviews, commentary, and recollections from leading figures in the history of photography, film, and conservation from the Eastman Museum’s archive. Select audio includes introductions by current and recent museum staff.

Gloria Swanson

George Pratt Cinema Histories

These oral histories offer intimate details of filmmaking during cinema’s earliest decades, as well as a rare opportunity to hear the voices of many silent-era stars whose careers peaked before the sound era.

Model Lisette leaning against the wall

Photography Oral History Project

Originally produced during an oral history project conducted from 1975 to 1979, these archival audio recordings include extensive interviews with many key figures in 20th-century photography.

George Eastman Mansion 60s

Symposia, Workshops & Conferences

Comprising recordings dating back to 1960, this collection captures 35 years of significant events held at the Eastman Museum, including SPE conferences and the 1967 Advanced Studies Workshop. 

Conservation of photograph (black and white)

Photographic Conservation 

Coming Soon

About the Interviews

For many years, the George Eastman Museum was one of the few centers in the world for the study of photography and film. Key museum activities included not just the collection and preservation of photographs and films, but also the documentation and study of their creators, curators, scholars, and conservators. Beginning in the mid-1950s, museum staff recorded the commentaries, recollections, and histories of many leading figures in these fields, as well as the significant conferences, seminars, and workshops hosted by the museum. Thanks to their foresight, the museum is now the custodian of numerous collections of recordings that tell a multitude of stories about the histories of photography and moving images, their study, and their conservation.

About the Silver Voices Project

In 2019, with generous support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (grant number MA-30 19-0681-19), four of these collections were digitally preserved as part of the museum’s Silver Voices Project, and are now freely available online through the museum’s website.

In November 2020, thanks to funding from Art Bridges and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES Act, the museum was able to provide a series of sneak previews from two of these oral histories. Selected interviews from the Photography Oral History Project and the George Pratt Cinema Oral Histories were given specially recorded introductions by current members of the George Eastman Museum staff. These contextualizing prefaces remain available to listeners.

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